þykkisk alt vita
ef hann á sér í vá veru
hitki hann veit
hvat hann skal við kveða
ef hans freista firar
The unwise man
thinks he knows everything
if he has refuge for himself in a corner.
but he does not know
what he must say in reply,
if men test him.
"Havamal" Stanza 26
Many adventures began over a pint of ale in a fire-lit tavern among like minds. While the atmosphere may have changed over the centuries the desires to take-up the quest have not. Today, we find ourselves seated in our living rooms or studies, searching for answers via technology rather than through the voices of our elders or books. This information lives on in the digital world and oddly, is way easier to access than that the the knowledge our ancestors sought.
My own adventure began in a tavern high up in a tree in a town known to accept all sorts of travelers and wanderers. It began with strangers and friends joining together for a common cause to save the world and bring back the old ways that had been long forgotten. While this amazing fantasy novel series and game inspired me upon my path, I was fully aware of its fiction. However, I knew the stories within had some truth in history and set me on a path to learn as much as a twelve year old boy in the early nineteen nineties could find.
I felt a calling, a pull, deep within my very being to take up the old ways and travel a path that I would embrace, become disgruntled with, discard, and fully immerse myself wholeheartedly within its teachings and wisdom.
As a teen I took up the runes. Learning what limited information I could from the Metaphysics section of the bookstore at the mall. I crafted my own rune set of Elder Futhark runes from tree bark and red paint. (Long lost into the annuls of time, they were one of my favorite sets.) I crafted my own tarot deck from a fantasy collectable card game, and read as many books on magick, demons, angels, and the ways of the Celts as I could. I studied herbs and learned their healing and culinary properties. I felt a strong pull to the lands of the ancient Celtic peoples, and I fully believe that this calling to this part of the world was an ancestral summoning.
So I became a chef. The world of food inspired and uplifted me. I loved the alchemy of blending fire, water, and gifts of the earth to create flavors, art, and inspiration in others. The realm of the kitchen and restaurant industry gave me thrills, adrenaline, chaos, and the discipline I would need later in life. I both loved and hated it. So much that I went to culinary school, worked in restaurants in New York, Pennsylvania, Florida, Maryland, and New Mexico. I traveled, quested, bled, and died inside all at the same time.
I got tired of hurting others through poor eating habits (including myself) and decided to return to school for nutrition and dietetics. I worked in retail and felt a sense humility and pride while learning something new and helping others. During this time, I felt defeated and underappreciated. I became depressed due to my abandonment of my spirituality and embracing a more logical and reality based walk in the world. I dragged my feet. I gave-up on happiness and life.
I sought for more and reawakened my spiritual side which had been ousted by immersion in the world of reality; mundane and unfulfilling I fingered through pages of my old books looking for answers. I took-up Druidry and practiced what I could in the little time I had. It was a new start in an old tradition and I loved every bit of it. I would abandon it as a new hobby and career moved into my life as a brewer.
Beer is liquid alchemy, just as cooking is. I love the restaurant industry and brewing beer in brewpubs offered me the satisfaction of both without the stress and chaos of the kitchen or dining room. Every batch I brew, even today, connects me further with the Earth, with the gods, and with my community. It is the perfect marrying and balance allowing me to walk between the two worlds of reality and the hidden.
While my spirituality grew with my work, I entered a strong and wonderful relationship that granted me two amazing children, one by spirit, and one by blood. It has involved great risks and joys and after the birth of my daughter pushed spirituality to the side for a while. I had left practicing Druidry (while keeping many of its philosophies alive in my life) and discovered Asatru and Heathenry. I've since blended the two and it suited my needs even though I was not practicing seriously.
Within the past few years my wife answered her own calling in a desire to study the wisdom of the hidden world and took-up energy work. She has been an inspiration to me and reminded me that it was time to pick-up myself again and take this calling with more vigor. I studied more. Discovered podcasts that reinvigorated my working with the runes, with herbs, and my ancestors. I found that my draw to Seidr and Druidry were two heads of the same coin and thus a move toward Celtic and Northern European Shamanism is where I fell. I have not budged from this path in several years and it is now that I feel that I should pass on what I have learned, continue to learn, and help others in their own path.
This living document will serve as a chronicle of my own adventures and quests in living and walking between and in both worlds. Musings, inspirations, frustrations, and journeys will be recorded for you to read and hopefully gain something from to benefit your own life and travels.